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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6385/that-doherty-book/

That Doherty Book

March 16, 2007 by

Brian Doherty’s new book on libertarianism is getting some attention, and rightly so. This review by Justin Raimondo is particularly spirited.

{ 3 comments }

Adam Knott March 16, 2007 at 1:49 pm

Brink Lindsey, the Cato executive mentioned by Mr. Raimondo, wrote a short piece in Liberty magazine in March 2003. In this article he lays out his reasons for being a “pragmatic” libertarian as opposed to a “radical” libertarian.

Reading an article such as Mr. Lindsey’s gives one a better idea of the kind of thinking that results in the particular type of libertarianism one practices.

Dennis March 16, 2007 at 3:19 pm

Maybe I belong in another time, but I always considered one of, if not, the defining characteristic of Libertarianism (and Classical Liberalism for that matter) to be a prohibition on the initiation of violence against other individuals and their property. Violence can only be justly utilized in self-defense.

I do not believe that the positions of Mr. Lindsey regarding the Iraq war and Mr. Cowen regarding his view of government in general, can be reconciled with this non-aggression principle. While, admittedly, Lindsey and Cowen are overall more supportive of liberty than most Republicans and Democrats, I do not understand how these individuals can be considered Libertarians, given what I believe to be the defining characteristic of Libertarianism.

If Libertarianism does not embody an across-the-board prohibition on the initiation of the use of violence, than what fundamentally differentiates it from other social philosophies?

Michael A. Clem March 18, 2007 at 1:44 pm

Dennis, I would say that as libertarianism becomes more popular, it faces the threat of being generalized to the point of being rendered useless or impotent as a political philosophy. As far as I’m concerned, the non-aggression principle IS the defining concept of libertarianism. Everything else is just the application or implications of it. It’s one thing if someone unintentionally misapplies the principle to a particular issue, but it’s another thing entirely if they choose to dismiss the principle altogether.

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